During the hearings, Dani had spent over six weeks in the hospital receiving care. The doctors and nurses quickly realized that she didn't know how to eat, all she could do is drink from a bottle.
“We did genetic tests, neurological scans," said Kathleen Armstrong of the University of South Florida. "There was nothing wrong with her. But she wasn’t stimulated at all. I’d been a school psychologist for 20 years, but I’d never seen a child like Dani.”
Armstrong also went on to say that she suffered from "environmental autism." Because Dani had been malnourished and neglected, she did not develop proper neurological pathways in her brain.
“During the first five years of life, 80 percent of brain development occurs,” Armstrong said.
It wasn't until Bernie and Diane Lierow came into the picture that Dani's life changed. The couple had five boys of their own, but four out of the five were all grown and out of the house. They felt God wanted to them to adopt, so they went to an adoption center and saw a picture of Dani.
Before they even met her, Bernie said, “She just looked like she needed us."
As the couple kept looking at Dani's photo and "felt drawn to her," staff from the adoption center came up to them and said, "You don't want her. There is something wrong with her. She's not up to par." The also painted a horrific image of what Dani had gone through.
Despite those warnings, the Lierow's knew God would have a hand in this and kept their faith in this process. As the couple moved forward with the adoption process, Dani lived in a group home. She received proper care and was placed in special education classes at a school. This is where the couple met Dani for the first time.
Check out the entire store in the video below.
About a decade later, the Lierows sat down with Oprah on her “Where Are They Now?” segment and shared their moving story with her and her audience. Dani has come a long way and has made huge improvements in her overall daily life.
Sadly, she has not bonded well with Diane because of her biological mother. Dani was severely damaged by the neglect of her mother, so any mother-like figures Dani sees, she steers away from. She has bonded well with Bernie and he has been more of her caregiver. Check out the entire interview below.
We are so glad the Lierows came into the picture and we are so grateful for that person who made the call to authorities. What do you think about Dani's story? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
If you see something that just doesn't seem right, it's best to call and have a professional check it out. In other news, an abandoned dog suffered horrific injuries after being brutally attacked with a shovel. Check out the recovery story and the dog’s new owners here.
Source: Tampa Bay Times